March 9 forum seeks new ideas for Tremont Nail future
Planning officials will seek public comment on redeveloping the former Tremont Nail Factory District, reigniting a debate among residents who view the property as either a boondoggle or a fixer-upper with commercial potential.
All are invited to the session, scheduled for March 9 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium.
Director of Planning & Community Development Ken Buckland said residents should come ready to learn more about the project, which has new life after receiving a $50,000 state grant, and share what they want to see happen at the site, located on Elm St.
The money is coming from MassDevelopment, a state agency with a track record of revamping blighted properties. Buckland noted MassDevelopment’s flagship project is the redevelopment of Fort Devens in central Massachusetts from a former military base into a thriving community.
Buckland said the agency saw promise in the Tremont Nail Factory District.
The Tremont Nail Company, which since 1819 had manufactured cut nails and other products, sold the 7.2-acre site to the Town of Wareham in 2004. The site was purchased using Community Preservation Act funds. The Community Preservation Act is a Massachusetts law that allows participating cities and towns to adopt a real estate tax surcharge, supplemented by state matching funds in order to fund community preservation.
Since then, the property has languished, attracting few tenants and drawing ire from residents tired of town funds being used to maintain the eight buildings on the property.
Buckland suggested that perhaps the newest building on the site, which Atlantic Boats, Inc. most recently used for auxiliary storage, could house a small, 3D printing operation. A larger business, such as a craft brewery, may be suitable for the original factory building, he said.
However, Buckland said officials are interested in listening to what residents have to say about the site’s future.